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Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

February 4, 2018

Reading 1 Jb 7:1-4, 6-7 –

Job spoke, saying:
Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery?
Are not his days those of hirelings?
He is a slave who longs for the shade,
a hireling who waits for his wages.
So I have been assigned months of misery,
and troubled nights have been allotted to me.
If in bed I say, “When shall I arise?”
then the night drags on;
I am filled with restlessness until the dawn.
My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle;
they come to an end without hope.
Remember that my life is like the wind;
I shall not see happiness again.

 

The Book of Job wrestles with the meaning of human misery.  The first time I really appreciated this Book was eleven years ago when I was diagnosed with cancer.  While it is not my favorite by any means, if you should be feeling like what the author escribes, perhaps it is time to give this Book of Scripture a closer look.  If not, this passage offers a very sobering reminder of the passing nature of all things in this world.  It may not make you feel good but it will lead you to do good while you have time to do so.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 147:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

  1. (cf. 3a) Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.
    or:
    R. Alleluia.
    Praise the LORD, for he is good;
    sing praise to our God, for he is gracious;
    it is fitting to praise him.
    The LORD rebuilds Jerusalem;
    the dispersed of Israel he gathers.
    R. Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.
    or:
    R. Alleluia.
    He heals the brokenhearted
    and binds up their wounds.
    He tells the number of the stars;
    he calls each by name.
    R. Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.
    or:
    R. Alleluia.
    Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
    to his wisdom there is no limit.
    The LORD sustains the lowly;
    the wicked he casts to the ground.
    R. Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.
    or:
    R. Alleluia.

 

-The Psalms are the great prayer book of the Church.  In it, you will find prayers for every human condition.  This particular Psalm is an exhortation to praise God for all He has done for us.  Now, praise is something God deserves from us but not something He needs from us.  The more we focus on the goodness and greatness of God, the better our perspective on both the pleasant and the painful aspects of our lives.

Reading 2 1 Cor 9:16-19, 22-23

Brothers and sisters:
If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast,
for an obligation has been imposed on me,
and woe to me if I do not preach it!
If I do so willingly, I have a recompense,
but if unwillingly, then I have been entrusted with a stewardship.
What then is my recompense?
That, when I preach,
I offer the gospel free of charge
so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

Although I am free in regard to all,
I have made myself a slave to all
so as to win over as many as possible.
To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak.
I have become all things to all, to save at least some.
All this I do for the sake of the gospel,
so that I too may have a share in it.

-There is an old story of a missionary who came to a town where the Christian faith had all but disappeared.  Every day from morning until night, he stood in the town square preaching repentance.  For a while folks gathered to listen but eventually he came to be ignored but he did not stop.  After a few days of this one of the townsfolk asked him why he kept this up even though nobody was paying attention.  He responded, “Should I stop speaking, they will have converted me.”  In many respects, the Church is in a similar position these days.  For over 45 years, we have been crying out against the evils of abortion, fornication, and so many other evils that have become legalized in our times.  Recently I was even asked by a retreatant, “When will the Church finally accept all forms of love and marriage”.  I wish I had thought to respond as the missionary in the story I just related.  The point of all this is to support one another in holding fast to the Gospel with all that it entails and to be wary of those who want us to go along in order to get along with the social culture of our times.

 

Alleluia Mt 8:17

  1. Alleluia, alleluia.
    Christ took away our infirmities
    and bore our diseases.
    R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 1:29-39

On leaving the synagogue,
Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John.
Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever.
They immediately told him about her.
He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up.
Then the fever left her and she waited on them.
When it was evening, after sunset,
they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons.
The whole town was gathered at the door.
He cured many who were sick with various diseases,
and he drove out many demons,
not permitting them to speak because they knew him.
Rising very early before dawn, he left
and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.
Simon and those who were with him pursued him
and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages
that I may preach there also.
For this purpose have I come.”
So he went into their synagogues,
preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.

 

-Notice that once the healing took place, the woman began to serve.  This is a very important point for us.  Once we are recipients of God’s healing, the clearest sign of it is our readiness to serve others.  In a consumer society, life is about getting more than giving.  This social sickness is not likely to change on its own.  Gospel life is about giving because we have already received, and continually receive from God many blessings each day.  Gratitude is the root of generosity.

 

-Further on in the Gospel Jesus leaves for time of prayer.  Have you ever noticed that the disciples never ask Jesus to teach them how to heal the sick, expel demons or multiply loaves and fish, but they do ask for teaching on prayer because they saw that it was His prayer that was the source of everything else He said and did.  The same is true about you and me.  One who prays well lives well.  The converse is also true.

 

Prosit.

 Fr. John

 

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